Published: 07 March 2014
Sue's Views: Week 16
Sue has an inspiring week at college when several influential speakers come to visit.
Today I shook the hand of Satish Kumar.
Anyone who has met him or read his books will understand why this is so significant to me. Satish is a true orator. Fascinating, inspiring, enchanting. Fire in his belly and a soul that sings out to the world. He loves the earth, gaia, and the earth can’t help loving him back. We had two spell-binding hours where Satish entertained us with stories of his youth in India and the richness of the land. He spoke of the soil and our need to respect it. He spoke of love and our need for sustenance. He spoke of education and the need to value essential skills. Satish was sowing seeds. We now need to step up and create a garden.

Three speakers have visited us this week, as well as Satish. It’s all been quite mind blowing. First there was Jonathan Dawson and his economic theory. Jonathan is interested in micro-economics and has worked in the developing world for years. We discussed peak oil and how the world seemed to be evading the need to find alternatives and just going for the dirty option: shale gas and arctic exploration. We discussed the possibilities of moneyless economies. He suggested that the stock market will crash in a much larger way than in 2008, once confidence goes in oil companies. I couldn’t disagree with him and it’s quite depressing. On the upside, I did discover that if a group of people approach the council, they are obliged to give you use of a piece of land. I wonder what this would actually mean in practice. There’s a 7 year wait for an allotment where I live, maybe I should pursue this further.
Sue with Satish Kumar.
Rupert Sheldrake was outstanding at one of the earthtalks. His talk was hugely popular, with people on a waiting list to get in. I could see why. My brain was throbbing by the time we came out. He’d attempted to explain all sorts of theories about issues right on the edge of science. Does telepathy exist? Is the sun animate? Morphic resonance and ghosts. It was all in there. It’s beyond my comprehension but if anyone can make scientific sense of it, it’s Rupert.
Chris Allen, my illustrious editor of The Gardening Times, had a great discussion with us all about ‘what is horticulture?’.  It wasn’t easy to encapsulate and as Satish later remarked, maybe it’s better to describe rather than trying to define. It got us all thinking and I took away a valuable message: know your plants.
Wednesday afternoon we did lots of digging, in preparation for growing some wheat. It seems like a lot of work to me getting wheat as far as flour. It would be fun to have a go though. Thursday we learnt all about salad growing and the commitment that people put in to this. Sarah says that she has to be on site twice a day EVERY day. I thought children were demanding. Plants are clearly much worse! Sarah was growing so many fabulous different salads. Lambs lettuce, mizuna, land cress, mustard, winter purslane, and most amazingly edible chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum coronarium). You can eat its leaves as well as the flower. It was really tasty. We have a great practical assignment this week: all about vegetables. How to grow them, care for them and harvest them. Really basic and essential stuff. So much to learn…
Reported by Sustainable Suzi  

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